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Neal Morse - Momentum CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 472 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back about a decade before this review was written, after completing the disappointing and unoriginal album "Snow" with his band Spock's Beard, Neal Morse announced that he was quitting the band to become Kneel Morse, and could only write songs about his personal savior. This was even more disappointing than "Snow". With SB, Morse had written some powerful prog, often sprinkling in hints of his religious inklings, and had even created a near masterpiece with the album "V".

I have heard bits and pieces of Morse's solo albums since, and while his musical composition has still been good, his lyrics had deteriorated to cliched proseletizing, and put me off from puchasing any of his albums. His lyrics even spilled over into some of his side projects (like the dreadful last movement of the otherwise fine work "The Whirlwind" by Transatlantic).

But the word was out that Morse had just released a new album where he minimizes the cheesiness and emphasizes the prog. So I picked up "Momentum" and gave it a try. And for the most part, this sounds like a good Spock's Beard album. The religious imagery is kept to a minimum, more than most SB albums, but not so much that it's off-putting (allthough there are a few points, all coincidentally in the most overtly religious tracks, where Morse's rhyme can be diplomatically described as ham-handed).

The opening track Momentum, with a powerful, yet Tony Banks inspired keyboard riff, sets the tone for the album. It appears this is going to be a throwback to the Beard years. Thoughts Part 5 (Where are parts 3 & 4?) is a continuation of the series begun years before with SB, and is worthy of the title. World Without End is a half hour epic, in the mold of The Great Nothing, and features some spectacular performances by Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George.

And the lyrics? Not bad. I don't mind Morse's Christianity when he is not pushing it in our faces as "The Only Way". But trying to rhyme "tears" and "years" with "mirrors"? And "between us" with "Jesus" (I can think of a better word to rhyme, but I bet you wouldn't use it)?

For ithe most part, if you miss classic SB, get this album. The ups far outweigh the downs.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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